Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act | Michigan Radio
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Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is defending her decision to line-item veto legislation removing $10 million to compensate people wrongfully convicted. The money is needed to replenish the nearly depleted compensation fund.

The money was in legislation to improve transparency and reporting for the compensation fund.

Richard Phillips, longest-serving exoneree in United States history, and David Moran, an attorney from the University of Michigan's Innocence Clinic who worked on his case.
Sarah Leeson / Michigan Radio

In late 2016, former Governor Rick Snyder signed the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act, which went into effect the following March.

The law compensates people exonerated of wrongful convictions in Michigan with $50,000 for each year they spent behind bars.

In 2018, Richard Phillips became the longest-serving exoneree in the country after he was cleared of a 1971 homicide conviction. But Phillips has yet to receive any compensation for the 46 years he spent in prison.

Flickr user Still Burning / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state will soon need more money to pay for potential awards to those who were wrongfully convicted.

A state law says people who meet certain criteria can receive $50,000 for every year they spent incarcerated.

There are two people who will likely receive awards from the fund soon – and that would wipe out almost all the money currently set aside.

Now, the state attorney general’s office wants to work with the Legislature to make sure there’s enough money allocated when it passes the next budget.

Joe Linstroth / Michigan Radio

Lawyers for wrongfully convicted ex-prisoners are crying foul over the dismissal of their clients claims on the grounds of a missed deadline that they dispute.

The exonerated former inmates are seeking damages under the recent Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act. The 2016 law is intended to compensate people for the years they were wrongly imprisoned.

Gabi Silver represents one of the ex-prisoners, Konrad Montgomery, who spent more than three years in prison for a crime he did not commit.